Lina and Vi: March 2017

New! Oakland Burlap Shoulder Tote Bag

Oakland burlap tote bag by Lina and Vi Plymouth Mi

I'm wrapping up another busy week sharing a short update about our latest burlap tote bag - the Oakland! It's been many, many months since I last created a shoulder bag for the Grounds Collection. Burlap pouches and pillows have been popular orders lately, but I was glad to be able to jump back into the bag-making process and sew up this new medium burlap tote bag for spring.

The Oakland is sewn from upcycled burlap that features black and green bold industrial text, which is authentic to the original burlap coffee bean sack. There is a green stripe down the center of the burlap panels which consists of woven green jute threads, so it is completely embedded into the burlap itself rather than printed. The bold text features the words 'Oakland, CA', inspiring the name for this new bag. You will notice that the print appears at a slight angle, and that is due to the fact that the text was applied without being aligned to the thread grain. Rather than ignore the grain to preserve the text alignment, I opted to ignore the text alignment in order to follow the thread grain, which prevents the burlap from fraying and strengthens the entire bag.

Oakland burlap tote bag by Lina and Vi Plymouth Mi

This burlap bag's exterior bottom features a sleek faux black leather outlined in white top-stitching. On the inside, the lining is sewn from a beige cotton canvas that provides more structure and balance the bold exterior. I added a small pop of interest and color on the interior bottom using a woven yellow and cream fabric perfect for spring.

Oakland burlap tote bag by Lina and Vi Plymouth Mi

Oakland burlap tote bag by Lina and Vi Plymouth Mi

This tote is a classic design - one that is very similar to the bag that I have carried myself for the past 1.5 years and still going strong! It's large enough to fit a few extras while I'm on the go, but it's not overly large to where it's too heavy to carry. It's quick to grab what I need without having to unzip a zipper but at the same time, I can snap it shut to keep the major contents from rolling out. I am tempted to keep this Oakland burlap tote all to myself but I want to share it with someone else who is looking for a new go-to everyday bag for spring and summer. Maybe I can swing a new bag as part of my growing list of things to sew? Hmm, maybe so! Seems like I will need to adding a diaper bag to my everyday load before a new bag....

I hope you are having a great start to the weekend! Spring has started, and I can't wait for the warmer season. You can find this Oakland burlap tote bag for sale in our Etsy shop here.

Enjoy!
Erica

Custom Burlap Coffee Yoga Mat Bag with Florals



Burlap Coffee Bean Sack Yoga Mat Bag Floral by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

This past weekend, I worked on a custom ordered yoga mat bag which turned out great! As I mentioned in my previous post, I used a variety of tools, so there were a number of times I was stopping to switch feet on my machine. I am proud by how much using specialized feet has really has elevated the quality of my sewing, especially with the top-stitching on the handle of this bag. 

This yoga mat bag is sewn from an upcycled coffee bean burlap sack that features bold, black text with a touch of a green logo. The accent fabric is a colorful, floral Cotton+Steel cotton fabric. I had a fat quarter left from the bundle I purchased at Pink Castle Fabrics back in December. The fabric worked great to give this yoga mat bag a whimsical, yet delicate feel. It is a fun contrast to the bold text on the burlap. I matched the floral color scheme with a solid, silky purple interior lining. I opted for a toggle closure at the opening of the bag, so it is easy to secure. Finally, the handle is sewn from a cream utility canvas fabric that is durable enough to withstand heavier wear. Overall, I really like how the florals balance out the burlap design to give the entire yoga mat bag an organic and natural yet feminine style.

Burlap Coffee Bean Sack Yoga Mat Bag Floral by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

Burlap Coffee Bean Sack Yoga Mat Bag Floral by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

Burlap Coffee Bean Sack Yoga Mat Bag Floral by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

Although this yoga mat bag is already sold, I do have one available in the Lina and Vi Etsy shop that is ready to ship now. You can find the Indonesia Burlap Yoga Mat bag here.

In other news, I was able to squeeze in a bit of sewing for baby last week. If you follow us on Facebook, I shared a quick photo of the burp cloths I made in black and white geometric snuggle flannel. We are one week out from finding the gender of our little one, and I think it will make this experience even more real once we know! I am sure I'll be spending more time sewing for baby in the coming months once we have the gender revealed to us, and I am looking forward to making items that are stylish and practical. More to come on that in the next few months!

I hope you are having a great week!
Erica

How to Use a Walking Foot for Faux Leather



Today I am sharing a little bit about what I learned while using a walking foot to sew the faux leather bottom onto our burlap AeroPress travel zipper cases. First of all, you should know that I was reluctant to use it. I had searched and tried a couple of different hacks that I found online, like placing tape under the standard zipper foot to reduce the friction between the foot and faux vinyl leather. This worked in the past, but the latest vinyl I purchased had more texture and wasn't moving easily under the regular foot. I tried to coax it through with some tugs and pulls, but the quality of the stitches did not meet my expectations. I ended up doing a bit more research and figured I would give the walking foot a try.

My walking foot is very basic, but I'm not really sure if there are more sophisticated ones out there so maybe it is exactly as expected. This foot is pretty large, and honestly, it was pretty intimidating to me. It came with my sewing machine, but I never unwrapped it from the packaging for almost four years. Now that I've used it, I can't recommend it enough to others. The advantage of a walking foot is that it contains upper feed dogs that feed the upper fabric at the same time as the lower feed dogs located under the needle plate on your machine. The benefit is that it makes it easier to feed bulky, sticky, or silky fabric through in a more controlled manner. It is most often used in quilting, when working with batting and multiple layers of fabric, but it can really be applied to almost any type of sewing to provide ease when feeding tricky fabric through the machine.

To install a walking foot, you will need the small screwdriver that came with your machine to unscrew the bolt on the shaft. Pop off the regular foot, unscrew the bolt, and pull down to remove the shaft from the machine and place it aside. Next, you will need to line up the walking foot shaft to where the bolt hole is as well as slightly lift the right arm to wrap it around a separate, smaller bolt that secures the needle. This arm will act a lever that tells the walking foot when the needle is in an up or down position so that the upper feed dogs move the fabric at the same time and rate as the lower feed dogs. Screw in the bolt using the screwdriver and check your machine instructions to confirm if you need to use a specific stitch setting with the walking foot. Of course, if you have your sewing machine instructions, they often will contain a short description of how to attach a walking foot using diagrams that I can't provide here.

The walking foot made it noticeably easier to feed my faux leather through my machine without it sticking to my sewing foot. The only negatives of the walking foot in my opinion are that it's a bit bulky, so straight stitching is often the ideal stitch, and it is more time consuming to put on and take off than any other sewing foot. However, the time it saved me, along with the frustration of trying to coax my fabric through the machine, is greater than the time it took to set it up.

Personally, I tend to shy away from swapping out feet or tools while I'm sewing because my initial perception is that it is wasting time and makes me less efficient. But, I have learned that using the right tools not only can save you time in the long run, but they can produce a superior quality than what can be done with trying to make the tools you have work for all cases. I like being resourceful, and I pride myself on being efficient, but sometimes I need to remember that it's okay to pull out the zipper or edge stitch feet because they are made specifically for sewing in those cases. Last night, I decided to pull out my edge stitch foot for some top stitching I was working on for a new burlap yoga bag, and the final quality of stitches is beyond what I could have done freehand with a standard foot. It really gives my final product the high quality look it deserves.

If you are a sewer or maker and have any questions about the walking foot, I would be happy to share more in detail and answer any questions you may have on how to install the foot on a Brother machine. And don't forget, as I did, that having the right tools can make a big difference!

Thanks for stopping by,
Erica